California Company Town

Directed by Lee Anne Schmitt.
US, 2008, 16mm transferred to digital video, color, 76 min.

Lee Anne Schmitt’s celebrated essay film explores a series of settlements abandoned by the very industries they were designed to serve, portraits of ghost towns that together offer an alternate and melancholy chronicle of the Golden State. Sifting patiently through the forsaken homes of farmers and oil workers and the various union and company headquarter buildings, Schmitt zeroes in on poignant clues about the forgotten past. Alternating between her own voiceover narration and historical recordings, California Company Town assembles a layered evocation of the past that also makes pointed connections to the broken promises of labor equity still being made in the present day. – HG

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.

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